Poems for Madonna

Madonna (inspired by the video of ‘Like a Prayer’)


Across the gulfs of culture
And morality’s rift faults
All meet you, and grow whole.

The planks of martyrdom, crumbling,
Shine as beacons, rising to pure carbon
Of your chosen one, in ebony, beyond all fire.

So, as all flames, your shimmering dresses
Nurture for all vision your quintessence;
Held, threaded thin and ever flirting,
With falling point beyond all sense.

That is the essence of all challenge,
Of all your seeming danger;
And that stance, held through all showing flimsy
Forges to true substance
All jaded solids,
Tempers all flows through oral breath,
Making the temple rained and flooded;

The earth’s, the sea-bed’s star.


Like A Prayer 2


You tempered love and truth
Propelled by Terror;
Brandished, placard prejudice
Cursing, stifling, torched or no.

The crosses flared behind you,
Savage, lying as the truth
All plundered by the cruel.

But placed behind you was no vain,
No callous backdrop –
By you inverted, hatred’s charcoal
Mutated into light.

One moment you flinched
From the ringleader’s glare,

And then recharged with strength
From that first font
To free the icon, barred.

They gave the prompt to you, the saviour
Against those thugs,
Charged with their poisoned inspiration
Turning foul, upon their own,
Tearing their last shreds
Of moral pretence.

So true you stood by your black icon,
Your disrobed intercession spoke all truth,
The voice of justice
Radiating through seductive overture.

Phoenix at one remove: then flames preceded you;
You drew new life from others’ ashes.


I’ll Justify Your Love


You overwhelmed my every fear

Oh yes: I’ll love you through the sheets of rain
Take you ripping, your luminous body
rippling from your drenched magnetic silk.

I’ll take your dress to the air,
the rapture of a parachute.

I’ll love you from a plane,
love you in free fall,

unlace that gleaming shell –
corset of lightning;
Roll with the turbine
fused in orgasm.

My fear was for the fall
My fear was in the fall.

My fear has gone, immersed.

My dream is in the fall,
My dream beyond the fall;
My hopes aloft,

Plunging with you

No top, not bottom,

No end and no beginning;

I’ll justify your love.

Reveal Yourself

(Inspired by a poster showing Madonna in a white Fifties retro bathing costume)

When you reveal yourself
you are the sun –And as you shine,
deepen the night’s alluring bosom,
peel off all grime, fatigue,

Madonna’s magic is all-pervasive

Your costume top, your covered breasts the loftiest mountains,
Your upper breasts and shoulders, deepest skies,
through and beyond the air.

Your upper breasts and shoulders, deepest skies
Through and beyond the air.

As you tone up, you love,
as you prepare for love
make true generic drama;

And with your liberating power
plumb all suppression’s layers to free life’s fountain.

So long I held my silence
with bated heart, so long unknowing
poised for your cue –

At last to speak.
Madonna, undress my dreams!
And guide their light
to flood my waking life;

Make me know all –
your every robe an element
in total chemistry.

Let’s make our every thrust a pile
for architectural truth.



David Russell
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5 thoughts on “Poems for Madonna

  • June 1, 2019 at 5:37 PM

    I like these tributes that you have been writing and I am excited to see who you choose next. I remember when Madonna came of the scene I was in Middle School. I also read a Biography of the artist Basquait and apparently she was performing on the Punk Scene before breaking through into her larger audiences. Jamie

    • September 19, 2022 at 1:17 PM

      I’ve done a couple of poems for Carly Simon:

      To Carly Simon
      (Inspired by You Know What to Do)
      First, I’d love to be your springboard,
      Caressed by your tiptoes
      Vibrating beneath your slender weight
      Your lissom form.

      I’d love to be your suit,
      Tightly encase you in my embrace.
      I’d love to be the water, to absorb you,
      Love to be your swaying bathrobe,
      Every step you tread,
      Up to your chamber of ecstasy
      See your swimsuit blend with your boudoir
      Love you to glimpse my body with delight,
      Love to be the wafting gossamer of your nightdress
      Warm ground beneath your barefoot tread
      Accelerating amok as you rush towards me,
      Be each tree you hug in transit.

      I’d love to be your bedroom mirror,
      As you preen and robe for my advent,
      Rush aglow to our rendezvous in the copse
      Be the earth above and beneath your body,
      See you rush off, a midnight sylph
      A rippling magnet
      Drawing me forever to the next
      “Like a house on fire”
      We are each other’s perfect extinguishers
      Foaming, frothing to infinite joy.

      David Russell

      Better Not Tell Her
      That twinge of guilt lends extra spice
      As you breathe reflection on that frozen moment
      Gaze into the ebb tide,
      Your shift half-wafting, half glued with perspiration.
      The tide rekindles your repleted memory.

      You cast your pearls in the sand,
      Being more precious than them all.
      I felt you in essence of water,
      Now I feel you in essence of fire,
      Flames’ motions echo our rippling bodies,
      Further ricocheting with your scorching dress,
      Your swirling hair.

      You held the key to my flamenco fantasy
      That arching lithe writhing
      A dove of peace on that guitarist’s shoulder,
      The fan as channel for approaching kisses.
      The air contains a kite, man-made and bird,
      A heavenly beacon, marking
      Our precious ascent.

      Names are known, acknowledged
      As the tip of the iceberg.

      David Russell

  • June 28, 2019 at 9:33 AM

    This is neat. She is my modern day Frank Sinatra – she did it her way.
    I enjoy your style, thank you.


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